Protecting Growers: Govt establishes 50 paddy procurement centres

Post Source: DailyTimes – Nov 7, 2009 – By Ijaz Kakakhel

ISLAMABAD: The government has established 50 centres in different locations to procure paddy at government announced prices for basmati, Irri-6 and Irri-9. Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Nazar Mohammad Gondal, expressed these views during a press conference here on Thursday. The purpose of procurement of paddy through state run Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) is to minimise the involvement of middle-man. For the last several years, these middle- men exploited the poor growers.

The Federal Cabinet on November 4 has approved procurement of 1 million tonnes paddy in the current season at prescribe prices. The procurement price (Intervention price) for Super Basmati is Rs 1250 per 40 kg while last year it was Rs 1400 per 40 kg. Basmati-385 and Basmati-2000 prices are fixed at Rs 1000per 40 kg each. For IRRI-6 and IRRI-9, the government has fixed Rs 600 per 40 kg each while last year it was Rs 700 per 40 kg.

Gondal said that the Pakistan Agriculture Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) has to purchase paddy from those areas where the growers have applied approved varieties rice.

The minister claimed that growers were generally voiceless and the government is determined to take appropriate measure for their welfare. “Our economy is agrarian base and every step will be taken to improve agriculture sector and well being of farmers,” he maintained.

Unlike wheat, the Paddy procurement was totally different and required proper handling and storage facility was required after procurement. In this regard, the minister said the government has involved private rice husking mills for proper storage and handling facilities. The minister informed that the government earlier decided that Passco has to procure 40 percent and provinces 60 percent. But the provinces rejected the idea and pleaded that they don’t have storage and handling facilities of Paddy.

The minister also informed that the PASSCO has already kicked off procurement of Paddy. Last year, he said, the prices of rice were higher in international market and the government provided higher prices, however, this year the international prices were lower and the government is also offering lower prices. However, if the international prices increase, then the government would also provide higher prices to rice growers of different varieties.

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